On mechanisms of fatigue life enhancement by surface dents in heavily loaded rolling line contacts

Xuejun Zhai, L. Chang, M. R. Hoeprich, H. P. Nixon

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42 Scopus citations


This paper studies mechanisms of surface dents in enhancing the fatigue life of rolling bearings previously reported in Akamatsu et al. (1). First, transient micro-EHL analyses of heavily loaded contacts between rough surfaces with multiple dents are conducted under near rolling conditions. Contacts with various dent dimensions, dent arrangements under different loading and kinematic conditions are investigated. Results show that surface dents generate no favorable micro-EHL effects to enhance the contact fatigue life. Subsequent analyses, in conjunction with other published studies, suggest that the fatigue life enhancement likely comes from the reduced local traction at asperity contacts through the “oil pots” effects of the dents. The effects of the surface dents on contact fatigue life may depend on the lubrication regime in which the contact is operating being favorable in poor lubrication conditions but adverse in well-lubricated contacts. Since rolling bearings are usually designed to operate in a healthy regime of lubrication, fatigue life enhancement by artificially introducing dents on bearing surfaces may not extend to field applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-714
Number of pages7
JournalTribology Transactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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